Managing Finances

Finding the Right Summer Job or Internship

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By: Rhiannon Winner, Uloop

Summer jobs and internships are, by nature, highly personalized. Not only will your daily tasks quite likely revolve around a central interest, but you’ll be expected to perform.

If you’re interning at Twitter, say, then you’re almost certainly going to be expected to code. So how do you know that your student has landed the right summer job or internship for them? By following the criteria below!

Have they asked about it?

If your student is having trouble finding a job or internship to begin with, encourage them to ask family, friends and professors. Oftentimes these people have heard of a particular job or internship that your student may not have known about.

Even if they can’t offer any new job or internship ideas, they will probably still be of use. They might have experience with applying to certain kinds of jobs and internships and be able to offer suggestions for interviews and applications, and your student is going to want every bit of advice they can get.

Have they utilized their college’s resources?

Colleges can be extremely helpful during the job search process. A career center, or even the registrar, can be invaluable. Not only are they likely to have a database of jobs and internships, but they should be able to guide your student through the application process, proofread resumes and essays, send out transcripts, and answer any questions your student might have.

Do they like it?

Let’s assume that your student has found a job or internship, but you’re not sure that it’s at all something they would enjoy. Remind them that no one wants to spend all summer doing a job they can’t stand. Make sure that your student is applying to jobs and internships that they think they’ll genuinely enjoy, not just ones that might look good on a resume.

If something doesn’t seem relevant to their field of study or other interests, try to talk them into something that’s more in line with their career goals or extracurricular interests. They’ll thank you for it once they realize how great their summer is going to be.

Is it paid?

Let’s face it: money matters. If your family is well-off enough that your student doesn’t need a summer paycheck, then let them apply to whatever job or internship that suits them. But if you do need your student to help finance their education, then insist that they seek out a paying summer job or internship.

Yes, jobs in your student’s dream field or a paid internship can be harder to attain, but they exist. If your student works hard on their application and keeps their grades up, they stand a good chance at landing a paid job or internship. Even if they end up flipping burgers all summer, if it finances their education, it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Where is it located?

So your student has found the perfect summer job or internship. Great! But what if it’s halfway across the country? The location of a summer job or internship is critical, because you may be expected to pay for flights, hotels, summer-long housing, food, and other expenses just to get and stay there.

You don’t want to end the summer in (or in even greater) debt.

What if the right summer job or internship is nonexistent?

There is a chance, especially if your student is not yet an upperclassman or not ranked extremely highly in their class, that they might not be able to get a summer job or internship that is suited to them. Although they will certainly feel bad, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Plenty of jobs and internships, especially in competitive fields, are only open to juniors and seniors, or in some cases, graduate or professional school students. Even if your student just happened not to get one they could have, there are plenty of other ways to spend their summer.

Encourage your student to spend the summer doing something that they both enjoy and find useful. If your student loves to volunteer, encourage them to spend weekdays volunteering. Not only will this demonstrate commitment for potential future employers, but assuming your student likes to volunteer, it’ll be a fun and fulfilling way to spend a summer.

If they have a knack for salesmanship, encourage them to become a summertime entrepreneur. Code a new website, write freelance articles, or even just walk dogs and babysit, if that’s what they enjoy. Whatever they do, as long as it’s fun and useful, encourage them to keep going!

Finding the right summer job or internship isn’t easy. It requires a lot of dedication on your student’s behalf, both during the search and to keep their grades up. But with some elbow grease, your student is sure to find the right way to spend their summer.

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